Will My Punishment Techniques Affect My Child’s Mental Health?

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Parents often struggle with ways to punish their children without harming their mental health or causing them to have behavior problems. Sometimes it can be hard to control a child, but how do you know how to punish them to teach them how to be well-behaved and well-adjusted kids?

Corporal punishment is still widely used and debated among parents and psychologists. The term corporal punishment refers to any type of physical punishment. It is federally legal on the federal level in the U.S., but that does not mean that you should do it.

If you are struggling to find a positive way to punish your child, you should check out this resource on BetterHelp. It goes into detail about alternatives to corporal punishment that you may find that they do not only involve any spanking, but that they are also highly effective.

Let’s look at some of the ways that corporal punishment techniques may impact a child’s development or behavior. If you think your son may be experiencing psychological trauma from suffering this type of punishment in the past, you can always do a mental health test to assess how he feels about it.

Worsens Behavior

While you may have found that corporal punishment worked initially, research indicates that this positive change in behavior may not last very long. In fact, it may even worsen your child’s behavior over time. They may become more aggressive or defiant as they grow and change.

This is because this type of punishment teaches children inappropriate behaviors like physical violence to solve a problem or that it is okay to not contain or manage your negative emotions.

This type of punishment can also deteriorate the relationship between you and your children. A child is supposed to trust their parents and feel safe and secure around them. Corporal punishment can gradually dissolve that unwavering trust.

Increases Risk of Mental Illness

There is evidence that links mental illness with corporal punishment. Physical punishment can increase the risk of several different mental health disorders including substance abuse, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and personality disorders. This seems to even be the case with mild corporal punishment.

Despite this fact, most parents in the United States still support corporal punishment. Although, the percentage of parents that approve has probably decreased in recent years. Many parents believe some forms of corporal punishment acceptable while condemning other forms.

Alternatives to Corporal Punishment

Children can be extremely stressful, and this can lead to frustration when they refuse to listen or to behave. However, you should refrain from any attempts to control the child. Instead, you should focus on teaching them. Let them know that it is important for them to control themselves and try to be a good role model for them by managing your emotions and dealing with conflict in a healthy way.

If your child makes a mistake, you can use it is a teaching opportunity. Help them improve their decision-making skills and explain to them the consequences of their inappropriate behaviors.

Parents trying to reduce or eliminate corporal punishment from their parenting tactics often find that removing privileges when children act out can be very effective. Take their tablet or phone away or make them go to bed 30 minutes early. These types of things can motivate a child and allow them to reflect on their behavior.

Of course, time out can often work as well. This takes away their time and it probably seems like forever when they have to sit in time out. They may feel like they are missing out, but it also allows you to talk to them and tell them the reasons that their actions were wrong. You may even have them apologize if their actions harmed another person.

Finally, positive reinforcement can be really good as well. This allows them to earn rewards for good behavior. A lot of schools are beginning to use this, and parents may find that implementing it does a lot of good at home as well.


Corporal punishment is still accepted by a lot of parents, but that does not necessarily mean that it should be. You may realize that there are better ways to teach your kids that allows them to learn from their mistakes. In addition, positive reinforcement and other consequences that do not involve any type of violence may even be more effective.